See the Redwood Trees in Mendocino, California by Railbike

There’s yet another travel mode/site visit combo to add to your list of extraordinary trip experiences: a railbike expedition through the breathtaking redwood tree forests of Mendocino, California. On one of these bikes built for two you can tap into one of the U.S.’ most spectacular natural treasures in a way few people ever have.

The Soaring Ancient Redwoods

Imagine lush forests of skyscraping trees wrapped in a foot of bark with branches up to five feet in diameter. The redwoods in northern California’s Mendocino County are thousands of years old and among the tallest trees in the world — they are what you’ll see when you sign up for a Pudding Creek railbike adventure on the famous Redwood Route from Fort Bragg on the Pacific coast (located three hours north of San Francisco) to Glen Bair Junction, further inland, or a longer Noyo excursion from Fort Bragg to Camp Noyo. Simply put, either of these two trips will not only leave you with indelible memories and bragging rights but also unbeatable photos. 

Insider tip: While the redwoods in Mendocino county are gorgeous, they’re not the largest in the state 

Pudding Creek Excursion: Experience Peace, Freedom and Awe on the Rails

Redwood forest at Montgomery Woods in Mendocino County, California.
A family visiting a redwood forest at Montgomery Woods in Mendocino County, California

On the 7-mile round trip Pudding Creek excursion, you’ll be traveling in a custom-designed electric bike made for two riders along the rails of the famed historic Skunk Train, which has been passing through groves of old-growth redwood trees since 1885 along a former logging route. As you make your way through the looming giants, enveloped by soothing breezes and rays of light piercing through the overhead canopies, you’ll feel the sort of indescribable sense of freedom that comes from speeding along in the open air with no need to steer, watch out for obstacles, or break a sweat – the railbike’s electric power provides an ever-present assist. The vehicle is also completely silent so you can really tune into the rejuvenating sounds of nature as you travel. 

On top of these benefits, the presence of a certified guide ensures extra insights and security. What all this means is that you‘ll be able to give your full attention to the majesty of dramatic surroundings, where nothing much has changed in over a century.

You’re likely to feel quite small in this neck of the woods, where the trees soar to the heavens, but you’ll come away with epic memories.  

The ride will take you over scenic trestle bridges, through long tunnels and into the Noyo River Canyon where the redwoods are colossally thick and sightings of blue herons, osprey, turtles, deer and river otters are common. The Skunk Train line tracks the Pudding Creek Estuary — a large and scenic waterway that still contains wooden pilings from long-gone trestles.

On-Foot Redwoods Experience at Glen Blair Junction

After pedaling for about 30 minutes along the rails, you’ll reach Glen Blair Junction and stop for just under an hour. Here, you’ll be able to sit at shaded picnic tables and hike a 1-mile loop trail (both easy and moderately difficult trail options are available) that will take you deeper into the forest so you can continue ogling astounding redwood trees and also spot some wildflowers. Along the way, you’ll come across a bridge enveloped by ferns and other greenery.

During the rejuvenating stop, the railbikes will be turned around to ready them for the return trip to Fort Bragg, which involves another 30 minutes or so of pedaling.  

On the Noyo Excursion: Follow the Noyo River and Go Deeper into the Redwoods

This new more strenuous railbike excursion takes you 25 miles along the gently winding Noyo River into old-growth redwood groves on tracks where only railbikes are permitted to travel. 

The trip starts with a scenic hike through the redwoods, down to the Noyo River where you’ll travel by railbike to various historic stops and across 12 wooden trestle bridges that provide awesome views of the water. When you get to Camp Noyo (a one-hour stop), you’ll be served a complimentary picnic and get a chance to swim in the river, lounge and wander among the redwoods.


Railbikes Trip Information

Pudding Creek Excursion

Price: $250 per bike-for-two (same price if only one person goes, but single riders must be at least 18 years old). Buy railbikes excursion tickets here or call 707-964-6371 — tours run Spring, Summer and Fall. The trip is suitable for ages six and up, and dogs, too (dog trailer and crate for dogs up to 150 lbs.: $30 per trailer).

What to bring: your own water and snacks for the stop in Glen Blair Junction (there’s a basket on the bike to hold your things); face coverings

What to wear: closed-toe shoes; warm clothing layers; helmets — they’re provided by the company and are mandatory.

Trip duration: Total trip time is about two hours — approx. 30 minutes each way on the bikes and one hour in Glen Blair Junction.

Noyo Excursion

Price: $495 per bike-for-two. Buy tickets here.

What to bring: Water and masks 

What to wear: closed-toe shoes; warm clothing layers; helmets — they’re provided by the company and are mandatory.

Trip duration: Total trip time is about 4 hours with 3 hours of pedaling time.


Other Things to Do While You’re in Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg, United States
Fort Bragg, United States.

One of the most fascinating things about this journey is the possibility of experiencing two distinct types of terrain that are equally gorgeous: the Pacific shoreline of Fort Bragg and the towering redwoods of nearby forests. Fort Bragg’s oceanside location delivers wonder via fabulous beaches with coastal bluffs and stunning views. 

Consider hiking, strolling or biking in Noyo Headlands Park (the park includes a 6-mile handicapped accessible multi-use trail); meandering through the bluffs and tidal pools of Pudding Creek Beach; and climbing the rocks, gazing at the crashing and combing for unusually shaped, colorful stones and sea glass at Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park.


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